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Queens Of Kings Bond On Salmon Trip


Photos courtesy of Nancy Rodriguez

The following appears in the October issue of California Sportsman: 

By Nancy Rodriguez

blanket of dense fog and a dark sky loomed over Sausalito’s harbor on the morning of our all-female adventure. 

Twenty-one salmon rods were rigged and strategically placed in their rod holders from bow to stern of our charter boat. As the lights in the bay twinkled about, freshly brewed coffee, baitfish and salty air permeated my nose, and I thought to myself that these are the smells that memories are made of. 

I looked around the deck of the boat and saw 20 like-minded female anglers all bundled up in jackets, hats and boots ready to greet the day. As we sipped our coffee and tried to shake our Dramamine grogginess, we introduced ourselves and organized our gear. I smiled as I listened to quiet conversations and laughter taking place around the boat. 

While the boat was pulling out of the harbor, I gazed up at the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge – breaking through the morning fog in all its glory, towering so grand above us. The steady hum of the boat’s motor was hypnotic as it rumbled along quietly along while we made our way to the first fishing spot. 

We carefully dropped our baited rigs into the deep blue waters while tiny wakes formed behind our lines as we trolled along in the calm seas. Our baitfish and flashers danced in the dark of the Pacific, all trying to entice a hungry king. 

Our group intently watched their rod tips as the cool moist air chilled our faces and kept us bundled up while we soaked up the beauty that surrounded us. The calmness of the sea, the mild rocking of the boat and the peaceful lapping of the water had me in a blissful state. 

And then I saw it – the unmistakable tap of my line – I yelled, “Fish on!” and it was as if the ball had just dropped on a New Year’s celebration and 20 bottles of champagne had been popped all at the same time! 

The first legal king salmon came over the rail and you would have thought the girls had been friends forever. Hoots and hollers, high-fives and smiles were in every corner of the boat as we all whooped it up together. And so began one of the best all-female adventures I have ever been blessed to be a part of.

WHEN I WAS FIRST notified about the Golden Gate Salmon Association’s first-ever “Fish Like A Girl” all women’s salmon fishing trip, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I reached out to my 18-year-old niece Audrey to see if she was interested as well and her response was the same as mine. 

While anxiously waiting for the day of the charter to arrive, I made contact with Cat Kaiser, who not only is GGSA’s fundraising and events coordinator, but one heck of an angler (or “anglerette,” as we like to call it!). 

I was thrilled to be in contact with her and so looked forward to meeting another diehard female angler in California. She was so helpful with my travel plans and any needs or questions I had before our trip. When I first met her it was as if we were long lost friends; I knew she was someone that I wanted to both be around and definitely fish with!

The salmon charter boat we were aboard, the Sausalito-based Salty Lady, was perfectly named for our fishing party. Jared Davis was our incredible, hard-working captain with two enthusiastic and beyond fun deckhands Tommy Watson and Jimmy McNair. 

Capt. Jared acquired the 56-foot fishing boat from the estate of a salmon fishing icon named Roger Thomas at the beginning of this year. Jared originally was a hired operator on the Salty Lady and worked with Thomas for close to 20 years. 

Thomas was the president of the Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association and the chair of the board of directors with the Golden Gate Salmon Association. Sadly, he passed away last December. When Jared spoke to me about Thomas, it was with complete admiration and an obvious deep friendship. It was apparent that his heart was still heavy for his and the industry’s loss, but I know he will do a great job taking care of the Salty Lady and her guests. Jared certainly took great care of us and made sure we were safe, having fun and catching fish! 

Also aboard our vessel was Mike Aughney, who helped out the ladies onboard immensely. Mike is the owner and editor of, a GGSA executive board member volunteer and a seriously knowledgeable and passionate salmon advocate. We had a great conversation and I learned a lot about the salmon industry from my time spent with him. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to hang out with for the day. 



AS THE HOURS AND miles drifted by, my throat became hoarse and my hand sore. These feelings weren’t brought on by the cold or a strained tendon; it was from hooting and hollering and endless high-fives from salmon after salmon being brought onto the boat! These women certainly could fish! The 21 women on our boat (including me) were from all over California. And the coolest part was that some had never caught a salmon, and a few had hardly wet a line before this day. Talk about excitement! 

Cat and GGSA seriously spoiled us with breakfast, lunch, drinks and even chocolate! We all received GGSA hats and shirts and some of us were even lucky enough to leave with dinner: freshly caught salmon. 

The fishing gear was well maintained and the boat was in tiptop shape – spotless and it even had two heads. With each “Fish on!” yelled from bow to stern, the ladies’ excitement grew and grew. 

Jessy’s fish was an inpromptu meal for a hungry sea lion.

We were blessed by several whale sightings and not so blessed when one very clever sea lion decided he needed one of the anglerettes’ salmon for lunch! We all had a laugh and raised our fists when Jessy pulled up nothing but a salmon head on the end of her line while the sea lion gulped down its tasty meal. 

Event organizer Cat Kaiser of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (left) and author Nancy Rodriguez.

IT’S HARD TO EXPLAIN how much support was felt on this boat. I have been around men who will say “Nice catch” or “Good job,” but there is no comparison to the support and encouragement women give to each other. 

As we all started to get to know one another, the cheering grew louder. We even cheered on neighboring boats that we would see fighting a fish. How fun is that? 

As the sun started to break through the coastal fog, Capt. Jared held strong in his desire to put his ladies on some fish and make this one of the best day’s on the water they’ve ever had. 

The ladies ended up bringing home 16 fish, with many smaller salmon (future dinners) caught and released, as well as a few kings lost. My niece even landed a silver, which was admired and quickly returned to the sea. The crew of the Salty Lady went above and beyond any of my expectations and I would be thrilled to go out on the boat again. 

I will forever have fond memories of the GGSA salmon fishing trip. I made new friendships and met some amazing people on our adventure together. It was my first trip with 20 other like-minded women who all share the same passion and hope there are many more to come. 

Cat Kaiser and GGSA put on a fantastic event. They truly are the people working so tirelessly to ensure the fact that future generations will have an opportunity to fish for the mighty Chinook salmon in our golden state. 

If you’d like to learn more about California’s salmon industry and fishing for these beautiful fish, I hope you look into joining GGSA and keep an eye out for future fishing trips. 

Who knows? Maybe on the next trip we will be fishing together, because I guarantee I will be there! CS

Editor’s note: Nancy Rodriguez lives in Cool (El Dorado County) with her husband Joe. She is on the field staff for Prois Hunting Apparel and a brand rep for Rockstarlette Outdoors and enjoys inspiring women to get outdoors.


I have to admit, I didn’t know much about the Golden Gate Salmon Association before the trip. I looked up GGSA’s website ( and was instantly impressed. 

If you are an angler or hunter in California (or any state for that matter), you know how important conservation is, which is exactly what this organization is all about. GGSA is a coalition of salmon advocates who work hard to protect our salmon and the industry that is so important to our home state. 

As noted on the organization’s website, their mission is to “protect and restore California’s largest salmon-producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley rivers that feed both the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable commercial, recreational and cultural resource. Salmon recovery is our passion.” 

If you are an angler who would like to learn more about this association, please visit their website. They have valuable information about our salmon industry, articles, current salmon news, fundraising events, fishing trips, memberships and donations, and so much more. NR

Trust us when we say there are king salmon migrating to the Sacramento and Feather Rivers. Cooler water temperatures are expected, and especially the Sacramento looks like a decent option to catch ?sh this month. (MSJ GUIDE SERVICE)

Oroville Salmon Festival Scheduled For Sept. 22

CDFW photo


The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The 2018 Oroville Salmon Festival is scheduled Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville and in downtown Oroville.

The annual event will feature free tours to view salmon spawning, information booths, educational displays and vendor booths. The festival is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the hatchery and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Oroville.

The Feather River Hatchery, which raises Chinook salmon and steelhead along the Feather River just below Lake Oroville, will offer free tours, and an underwater viewing window at the hatchery displays migrating salmon or steelhead. The fish ladder opened at the hatchery on Sept. 14.

The hatchery also plans to unveil art created by students from Yuba City High School during the festival. The ceramics mural, which illustrates the life cycle of Chinook salmon, will be displayed outside the main office at the hatchery. Also scheduled at the hatchery are a pancake breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m. and a lunch from noon to 3 p.m.

For more information, please visit

Hockey’s Owen Nolan Enjoying The Summer


We featured former NHL star Owen Nolan way back in 2013 – see above and below clips from our chat with him.

Nolan spent parts of eight seasons in San Jose and is one of the most beloved players in team history (he settled in the South Bay and is a co-owner of the Brittania Arms, a favorite stop for fans on the way or coming back from the Sharks’ home arena).

The Sharks have an ongoing contest – full disclosure: I’m a diehard San Jose fan! – where fans can submit photos from around the world displaying a “This Is Sharks’ Territory” placard and can enter a contest that other fans vote on.

Nolan tweeted out his own placard salute to one of his former teams, but this one has a fishing twist to it during a family fishing trip. Check it out:

He’s got my vote!

A Hunting Or Fishing License Is An Ideal Father’s Day Gift

Photo by CDFW


The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Give the Gift of the Outdoors for Father’s Day


Looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift this year? How about giving the gift of the outdoors? A California hunting or fishing license is a great way to show appreciation for dad or grandpa and make wonderful memories for many months to come.

As the third largest state in the nation, California provides many opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the state’s famed wilderness. Half of the land is publicly owned, giving hunters and anglers access to millions of acres of public land. With more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs, and 1,100 miles of coastline that is home to hundreds of native fish and shellfish species, possibilities abound for outdoor adventure!

“The gift of fishing and hunting licenses provides endless opportunities to enjoy California’s unmatched wild places with family and friends,” said Charlton H. Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Hunting and fishing licenses can be purchased at more than 1,400 license agents throughout the state as well as CDFW license sales offices. Licenses can also be purchased and printed online via CDFW’s website. If purchasing a fishing license as a gift and the purchaser does not have all of the licensee’s information, a gift license voucher will be issued. This voucher can then be redeemed at any license agent location, but it cannot be redeemed online. Hunting license gift vouchers are not available. To purchase a license online or find a local sales agent or CDFW sales office, please visit

A 2018-19 California resident hunting license costs $48.34 and is valid from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. A 2018 California resident sportfishing license is $48.34 and is valid Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018. Lifetime fishing licenses are also available.

Dad can also enjoy the outdoors without leaving the comfort of home with a subscription to Outdoor California magazine. This bi-monthly magazine offers stunning photography and insightful articles about the state’s native wildlife and habitat, and chronicles the ongoing battle against fish and wildlife crimes. A subscription costs $15 for six issues. Those wishing to subscribe can fill out the form, print and mail with a check to the address listed on the form, or subscribe online via CDFW’s licensing sales website.

An honorary donation to support California’s wildlife officers in their fight to protect California’s natural resources would also make a great Father’s Day gift. Consider purchasing a 2018 California Warden Stamp. The funds raised go toward the purchase of new equipment, specialized training and enforcement programs. The stamps can be purchased online.

California To Receive $42 Million In Federal Fish And Wildlife Funding


CDFW photo

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced allocation for states’ fish and wildlife agencies, and California will receive $42 million worth of funding.

Here’s the release from Interior:

 Allocations of the funds are authorized by Congress. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has distributed more than $20.2 billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects.

“American sportsmen and women are some of our best conservationists and they contribute billions of dollars toward wildlife conservation and sportsmen access every year through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts,” said Secretary Zinke. “For nearly eighty years, states have been able to fund important conservation initiatives thanks to the more than $20 billion that has generated nationwide. Every time a firearm, fishing pole, hook, bullet, motor boat or boat fuel is sold, part of that cost goes to fund conservation. The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters. The American conservation model has been replicated all over the world because it works.”

California’s breakdown of monies applied to the state include $16,513,733 for sportfish restoration and $26,033,993 for all wildlife funds. Texas ($52 million) and Alaska ($51 million) were the only other states to receive more allocations than the Golden State.


Raptor Poaching Suspect Arrested In Lassen County

Photo by California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

California wildlife officers have uncovered what is likely the largest raptor poaching case in known California history, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.

Wildlife officers assigned to Lassen County received an anonymous tip from someone who reportedly witnessed a man killing a hawk near the town of Standish. The local wildlife officer conducted surveillance, then visited the private property and discovered nine dead raptors, which was enough evidence to obtain a search warrant. He returned on March 11 with additional officers and a CDFW K-9. A search of the 80-acre property led to the discovery of an extraordinary number of raptor carcasses, other dead birds and wildlife and spent rifle casings indicating more than 140 potential state and/or federal violations.

Processing evidence
Processing evidence: Wildlife officers collected over 140 carcasses of mostly raptors, but other birds and mammals as well.

In addition to the original nine birds, they found 126 dead raptors, all in various states of decay. Most of the birds were red tail hawks, but at least one dead owl was found, as well as an uncommon migratory ferruginous hawk. Officers also located two dead bobcats, one taxidermied mountain lion and other nongame birds, all suspected to be unlawfully taken.

Property owner Richard Parker, 67, was booked into Lassen County jail on multiple charges including take of birds of prey, take of migratory nongame birds as designated by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, take of other nongame birds, and possession of wildlife unlawfully taken. Additional charges may be added as the investigation proceeds.

wildlife officers conducting investigation
Wildlife officers conducting investigation: Most of the dead birds were located at the bottom of roosting trees or manmade objects such as telephone poles.

Staff at CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory in Rancho Cordova are working to positively identify the species of all of the birds.

As the top bird predators in the food chain, raptors serve an important role in the ecosystem by controlling rodent and small mammal populations. However, they are also particularly susceptible to environmental stressors such as drought and habitat loss. For these reasons, biologists refer to them as an indicator species.

Standish is located near Honey Lake and the Honey Lake Wildlife Area, with habitat that supports a rich diversity and quantity of wildlife. The sheer number of birds poached on the 80-acre property will undoubtedly affect the raptor population in the immediate area.

“Poaching crimes of this egregious nature against raptors is unprecedented in California,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “The local raptor population may take years to recover from these killings.”

Each potential violation is a misdemeanor poaching crime at the state level, with maximum penalties of six months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine per each raptor. An unlawfully taken mountain lion could result in up to a $10,000 penalty. Each potential federal crime could result in additional penalties.

Gearing Up For Fred Hall Shows

Fred Hall Special 2018 (Trailer) from Angler Chronicles on Vimeo.

As the above video states, it’s Fred Hall Shows time in Central and Southern California. Beginning with the Fred Hall Central Valley Sports Show that begins on Thursday in Bakersfield, there are three shows – Long Beach from March 7-11 and Del Mar from March 22-25 that cater to outdoors lovers.

Here’s a Q&A that we did with show owner Bart Hall, son of the popular show’s founder and namesake.


By Chris Cocoles

It never gets old for Bart Hall – carrying on his dad’s vision of producing big events for outdoors lovers of everything from hunting to fishing to jet skiing and which began nearly three-quarters of a century ago.

Today, the Fred Hall Shows – Bakersfield from March 2-4, Long Beach from March 7-11 and Del Mar (San Diego) from March 22-25 – bring together thousands of sportsmen and -women who want to check out the newest gear, destination resorts and have an interactive outdoor experience. 

Bart, Fred’s son, coordinates the show and takes pride in the success of his three events – Bakersfield’s Fred Hall Central Valley Sports Show joined the family last year – and their being a fixture each March for hunters, anglers, boaters and kayakers. We chatted with Bart Hall about his dad’s legacy and what to look for in 2018. 

Chris Cocoles This event has been such a great vision that your dad Fred first had since just after World War II. Do you find it hard to fathom how successful the Fred Hall Shows have become? 

Bart Hall You know, I just produced a commercial where I am speaking and I say in the commercial, “I am proud of our 72-year-old history and amazed that the little show my father produced at Gilmore Stadium in 1946 could have grown into the 2018 version of the Fred Hall Show.” I remember those shows as a kid, when kids were free to run around without fear in those days and I thought the Fred Hall Shows were my own personal playground. I got to shoot arrows with big game archer Howard Hill; I got to log roll with the lumberjacks and so much more. But nobody ever thought the Fred Hall Shows – and they weren’t called the Fred Hall Shows then; they were called the Sportsmen’s Shows – would ever grow into what they are today. I remember the day before my dad died I took him around the Long Beach show in a golf cart and said, “Dad, look at this … Look at what you’ve created.” And, of course, they are even bigger now.

CC Your website calls the Fred Hall Shows “The Ultimate Outdoor Experience.” What do you think the outdoor experience meant to Fred Hall? 

BH When my dad was a young man he grew up fishing in Florida. He loved hunting, especially bird hunting. Towards the end of the war my dad worked for Mel Morrison, my godfather, at a company called Crowd Management Inc. They provided ushers, ticket sellers and gatemen to all of the sporting events in Southern California. My dad realized that with all of the sports they were associated with – baseball, football, basketball, horse racing, “the fights,” wrestling, track and field, and even roller derby – outdoor recreation was not included. So in 1945, the year I was born, my dad went to Mel one day and said, “Let’s produce a sportsmen’s show.” And Mel’s response was, “What the hell’s a sportsmen’s show?” The rest is history. The first show was in April of 1946.

CC Are there any differences among those potential visitors who can only attend one show among Bakersfield, Long Beach and Del Mar?

BH All three Fred Hall Shows have a lot in common and some striking differences. Bakersfield is first on the schedule this year. We took over that show last year and we were reluctant to call it a “Fred Hall Show.” When you do that you imply certain things to people and we didn’t want to disappoint them. But with a lot of hard work from the Fred Hall Show staff and former owner Mike Hatcher we were able to add a new fishing hall, add dozens of boat manufacturers and expand the small hunting section. However, this show has its own special signature and that is that the Fred Hall Central Valley Sports Show is one of the most successful RV shows in the Western United States. There will be over 300 RVs on display at this event and most of them will get sold at the show or in the next six months. It’s a great RV show. 

The Long Beach show is the world’s largest sportfishing show, California’s largest trailer boat show and a world-class hunting and fishing travel show. We even have firearms on display at the giant Turner’s Outdoorsman and Oak Tree Gun Club booths. The Fred Hall Show at the Long Beach Convention Center is unique among shows in the world. If you haven’t seen it, you need to before you die. It is a bucket-list experience for outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

The San Diego Show is 42 years old and it’s my favorite show. It’s big enough to rate national recognition but small enough that you can get the feel of the “old time” shows and the intimacy that comes with a more relaxed atmosphere. It is simply the biggest fishing show, biggest boat show and biggest outdoor recreation event in the world’s sixth largest economy.

CC What new exhibits are set for
the shows?

BH There are going to be a lot more boats at all of these shows. There are simply more boats that want to come in than we have room for at all three events. Long Beach is going to have some “killer” marine electronics displays, including some boats on the water demonstrating cool marine electronic products. And Long Beach, in keeping with the trend of the last 10 years, will have more hunting displays than ever. 

Del Mar will be overflowing with boats and Hobie is using that show to present a factory-style showcase to their amazing product line of Mirage Drive kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and inflatable kayaks. At all three shows, in the Hobie Kayak Seminar Area we will have the “Show Up and Blow Up” contest, where anyone can sign up to blow up a Hobie inflatable kayak. The winning time will win a Hobie i11S inflatable kayak. Bakersfield will have even more fishing tackle, the very popular hourly drawing in the new fishing hall and all of the new RV’s for 2018. And Mammoth Lakes is presenting a new 360 virtual-reality Mammoth Lakes experience at the shows. Don’t miss that spectacular event.

CC What are some of the activities to look for?

BH Among the three shows there will be over 700 seminars. Long Beach alone will have over 400 seminars and workshops. There is the Daiwa Bass Bin; the Cousins Seminar Stage; the Accurate Fishing Saltwater Tank; the Mammoth Lakes Seminar Area; the Hobie Seminar Theater; Hobie test rides on the Hyatt Lagoon; Casting by Daiwa; Shimano and Avet on the lagoon; the Ram Trucks Ultimate Air Dogs; the Great American Duck Races; the Mammoth Lakes and Shakespeare Kids Fish Free Trout Pond; the Fishing in the City Kids Casting Contest, the Deep Blue Dive Pool; the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack show; and a reprise of the Jack Dagger: The King of Fling Knife-Throwing show. 

CC You get so many different visitors in terms of boaters, kayakers, hikers, fishermen, etc. Does it make you proud to know that after all these years the Fred Hall Shows showcase how diverse the outdoors can be in California?

BH Yes, California is amazing. One entire coast is covered in saltwater with all of that fishing. We are located next to (Mexico), which has great tropical fishing. We have the greatest sportfishing fleet in the world. The Colorado River covers a good portion of our eastern flank and the great system of lakes in the north and south and the amazing bounty of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains are unmatched in any other state. Bass and trout fishing are off the charts. 

We are the only state where you can shoot all three species of elk. We have good deer hunting, turkey hunting, duck hunting, and dove and quail hunting. And while we have problems on all fronts for outdoor recreation, saltwater angling is under intense attack from poorly informed people who want to end sportfishing in the ocean. 

That is why, at the Long Beach and Del Mar Shows, if you join the Coastal Conservation Association of California you will not only get into the Fred Hall Shows for free but you will get a goodie bag worth far more than what you paid to join CCA-CAL, which is a national organization, and every angler should be part of CCA-CAL just like every hunter should belong to the NRA. We need this organization. Recently, environmental extremists tried to completely outlaw Pacific bluefin tuna fishing. CCA-CAL was partially, if not wholly, responsible for allowing anglers a two-fish-per-day limit. Without these folks it would have been zero fish. Join this organization at the Fred Hall Shows. CS

Editor’s note: Like the Fred Hall Shows at Follow on Twitter (@fredhallshows) and Instagram (@officialfredhallshows). 


A Half-Million Steelhead Will Be Released In Feather River

CDFW photo

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Hatchery trucks from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today began the weeklong process of stocking a half million young steelhead smolts on the Feather River near Yuba City. The 125,000 fish released Monday were the first of the fish reared from eggs rescued from the Feather River Fish Hatchery during last year’s Feather River spillway failure. Plants will continue through Thursday near Yuba City.

More than a million steelhead eggs were endangered in February 2017 when silt and debris overwhelmed the hatchery water system following the spillway failure. With less than 72 hours to complete fixes on aeration and filtration systems CDFW engineers went to work to save the steelhead eggs stacked in hundreds of trays at the hatchery.

Feather River steelhead are on the state and federal list of species of concern, and the hatchery is key to maintaining the viable run in the Central Valley. The eggs in the hatchery during the Feather River spillway event represented a year-age class of steelhead.

Engineers redesigned the water in-flow system using city water for the incubating steelhead. They also brought in massive six-foot-tall charcoal filters to purify the city water and reconfigured the aeration system. These alterations made this week’s release of more than 500,000 steelhead possible.

“CDFW engineers did something that had never been done successfully before on a massive scale,” said Feather River Fish Hatchery Manager Anna Kastner. “The eggs were in a fragile state of incubation and could not be moved, so innovation was the only option. The use of city water for incubation paid off.”

CDFW Engineers George Heise and Beth Lawson, working with hatchery personnel, pathologists and biologists, conferred on the requirements of redesigning the system.  Once agreed upon they went to work.

“Our options were limited and something had to be implemented immediately. The team told us what they needed and we went to work making it happen,” Heise said.

Thousands of anglers fish these waters annually, significatnly boosting the local economy. Finding an emergency fix for the potential catastrophic loss of a year of hatchery production of steelhead was critical – recreationally, economically and biologically.

John Church, a local fisherman from Yuba City, is one of the many anglers who value and rely on steelhead fishing opportunities on the Feather River. “It’s really important to me and family … I take my daughters to the Feather River for the chance to catch a steelhead each year,” he said. “It is what we go there for.”


Abalone Poachers Owe Stiff Fines

The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office has settled three major abalone poaching cases involving Fort Bragg, Sacramento and Bay Area abalone poachers, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.

Two of the settled cases resulted in hefty fines and other penalties for restaurant owners:

  • Steven Yuan Qin Liang, 47, of Fort Bragg pled
    Evidence seized in the Liang case.

    guilty to felony conspiracy involving the purchase and black market sales of sport-caught abalone for personal profit. Liang, owner of the Asian Buffet restaurant in Fort Bragg, was ordered to serve 360 days in the Mendocino County Jail, placed on probation for 36 months and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000. He is prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.

  • Bryant Chiu Shiu Lee, 44, of Sacramento, pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of purchasing abalone for black market resale. Lee, owner of the Sushi Café in Sacramento, was placed on probation for 36 months and ordered to pay a fine of $40,000. He is prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.

Liang and Lee were both convicted in late 2017, following a joint investigation by the CDFW Special Operations Unit and Mendocino Coast squad that began in June 2015.

In the third case, the strange circumstances surrounding an emergency rescue led to an investigation and eventual conviction.

  • Justin Joseph Adams, 44, of Alameda, pled guilty to charges of conspiracy and taking abalone for black market sale. He was ordered to serve 210 days in the Mendocino County Jail, was placed on probation for 36 months and was ordered to pay a fine of $15,000. He is also prohibited from obtaining a sport or commercial fishing license for life.
Adams case April 2017
Evidence seized in the Adams case.

In April 2017, wildlife officers received information from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department, Elk Volunteer Fire Department and Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department about odd circumstances surrounding a cliff rescue in Elk, Mendocino County. Adams had been dropped off by a friend the day before at the headlands just north of Cuffy’s Cove in Elk. He climbed down a steep cliff to the water’s edge and harvested abalone during low tide, but when the tide returned, his return route was blocked. When he failed to appear at a pre-determined pick-up location, a friend called in a missing persons report. Rescuers found Adams stranded on the side of a steep cliff and extracted him around 2 a.m.

Wildlife officers suspected poaching activity may have factored into Adams’ predicament. The day after the rescue, CDFW Lt. Joel Hendricks and Warden Don Powers donned wetsuits and swam to the location below where Adams was rescued to look for evidence of poaching. In a deep cut under the bluff, directly under the location of Adams’ rescue, they found two bags containing 38 abalone. One of the bags also contained a half-consumed plastic bottle of water. After obtaining a DNA sample from Adams via a search warrant, they sent the sample and the water bottle to the California Department of Justice Forensics Laboratory. The lab matched the DNA evidence from the bottle to Adams.

Trafficking of illegally harvested abalone on the black market continues to pose a significant enforcement problem and further exacerbates the pressure on the abalone population. Black market values will likely increase with the closure of the 2018 sport abalone season. Wildlife officers continue to conduct in-depth investigations and arrest those who continue to poach and commercialize abalone.

“It is immensely important for wildlife officers to work with District Attorneys who understand the importance of prosecuting poaching crimes against the dwindling abalone resource,” said CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of Law Enforcement David Bess. “The Mendocino County District Attorney’s office has an excellent track record in this regard.”

CDFW’s wildlife officers and biologists alike hope to see the return of a recreational abalone harvest as soon as the abalone population rebounds.

Underdog Sport Fishing

Underdog Sport Fishing
World-Class Fishing, Unmatched Service
Custom-tailored charters and lodging in Port Protection, Alaska

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Self-Guided Fishing
World-class fishing at your pace with our meticulously maintained boat and gear

Captain your own boat in our very navigation-friendly waters. Leave and return on your own schedule and fish how you want to, where you want to, using one of the safest and most stable boats available.

Self-guided trips are extremely popular and book up fast. This really is an incredible way to explore our waters, and having the to freedom to do it on your own brings guests back year after year.


Self-Guided Boat and Gear
Svendsen Marine in Wrangel, Alaska builds some amazing boats. Their 21-foot skiff is the pickup truck of boats for southeast Alaska. With positive flotation, self-bailing decks, and seating for four, this is the ultimate self-guided boat.

Rigged with a reliable Yamaha F150 main and a Yamaha 9.9 kicker, all with electric start and power trim, this craft will get you and up to three of your friends safely to and from some of the most prolific waters in North America.

Our Svendsen is the largest, most capable, best equipped and arguably the safest boat offered for self-guided fishing at any lodge in Southeast Alaska.

It also comes equipped with the same high-end tackle, rigging, and gear that our charter boat utilizes, including Accurate reels and Star Paraflex rods for your bottom fishing and Shimano Tekota 600LC’s paired with Lamiglas Kenai Quik rods for your salmon fishing and mooching.

A landing net, harpoon, salmon pick, Yeti cooler, and everything else you need for an enjoyable, trouble-free, and efficient fishing adventure are also included. An easy-to-use Lowrance GPS makes navigation simple, a powerful Lowrance CHIRP (compressed high intensity radiated pulse) fishfinder helps you find the bait and gamefish, and a VHF keeps you in contact with the lodge. All USCG-required safety gear is on board, along with an EPIRB.

According to Alaskan self guided regulations, you may retain larger halibut that on a guided charter boat. Current regulations allow for the retention of two halibut per person of any size.

A One-of-A-Kind Adventure
Quick access to pristine waters from a picturesque and rarely visited outpost

Featured in the National Geographic Channel show Port Protection, this remote outpost on Wooden Wheel Cove on the northwestern coast of Prince of Wales Island lies only minutes from some of the most productive fishing anywhere in Alaska — not just for salmon, but also for monster lingcod, halibut, and yelloweye rockfish.

We offer the only charter fishing available in the area, which is accessible only by boat or float plane. It’s not easy, operating a lodge and charters here, but the opportunity to share the experience of fishing these pristine waters with our clients and friends is more than worth the challenge.

Fishing Port Protection
Different species of salmon inhabit these waters at different times of the summer. Kings are available year-round and silvers (cohos) usually show up in August. But that’s only part of the story. Because bottom species are less migratory than salmon, their numbers and size in a given area are much more easily affected by fishing pressure. That means the bottom fishing out of Port Protection, which experiences only a tiny fraction of the pressure of more established destinations, is truly exceptional, with abundant halibut, yelloweye rockfish and especially gargantuan lingcod.

The remoteness of the area also brings its challenges. There is no easy way to replace gear or get equipment repaired, so we not only make sure our boats are in top shape before making the trip, but also take spares of nearly everything — rods and tackle, fish processing tools and supplies, even gear like downriggers and kicker motors. Simply put, equipment failure will not affect your trip.

Because Underdog Sportfishing holds a NOAA-issued Halibut Charter Permit, you may retain halibut according to the year’s charter angler halibut regulations.

We also participate in the GAF (Guided Angler Fish) program. In simple terms, this allows us to acquire for our clients some of the catch share allocated for commercial fishing. Currently, the GAF program offers you the exciting opportunity to harvest two halibut per day of any size until our GAF quote is depleted. Please see our Details page for further information.

Short Runs and Pristine Waters
One of our favorite things about fishing Port Protection is that we can spend all day with our lines in the water. We sometimes fish as little as 5 to 10 minutes from our dock and rarely more than 30 minutes. We can also fish our protected waters in virtually any weather.

The only reason we run farther than 20 minutes or so is to visit the virtually untouched waters around Kuiu Island, just across Sumner Strait. At nearly 750 square miles, Kuiu is the 15th-largest island in the United States yet home to less than a dozen humans.

The southern portion, which we visit, is inhabited only by black bears (one of the world’s densest populations), plus wolves, numerous smaller mammals like beaver and mink, sea otters, sea lions, seals, and whales. The fishing is equally pristine, with hundreds of miles of coves, islands, and points, many of which have never before been fished with rod and reel.

Trip Details
Port Protection trips are complete packages from 4 nights/3 days to 7 nights/6 days packages that include lodging and meals, private charter boats, professional guides, rain gear, boots, unlimited fish processing, and ground transportation.

Please visit our Details page for pricing and additional information.

Typically, you’ll arrive the evening before you fish, wash away the trip with a cocktail and some fresh local seafood, get a good night’s rest, and then spend the next three or more days battling the biggest salmon and halibut on the planet. Departure is the morning after your last fishing day.

UNDERDOG SPORTFISHING, an Execguide, Inc. company
Owned and operated by Capt. James Thomas
907.401.3675 |